Harris County To Vote On $2.5 Billion Flood Bond, Saturday

Houston Chronicle reporter says there’s virtually no opposition to the bond but it’s not a “silver bullet.”

By Jill AmentAugust 24, 2018 12:36 pm

One year after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Harris County voters will head to the polls Saturday to decide on a multi-billion dollar flood-bond proposal. The bond vote is being held on the one-year anniversary of the day Harvey first reached the Texas coast.

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with the Houston Chronicle’s Harris County Reporter, Zach Despart, and asked him what’s included in the bond.

“$2.5 billion,” Despart says. “It would be the largest local investment in flood infrastructure since Hurricane Harvey hit us.”

The bond would provide funding for some 230 projects, including channel improvements, detention basins, new floodplain mapping, a new early-warning system for flooding, and buyouts for homeowners in the floodplain.

Despart says polls show Houston residents are supportive of the measure, as are elected officials.

“It has nearly universal support across legislators, policymakers – both Republicans and Democrats,” he says.

But During early voting, turnout was low – 7.5 percent, Despart says.

Even if the bond measure passes, Houston won’t have done everything necessary to prevent a future Harvey.

“To be clear, this bond by no means is a silver bullet,” Despart says. “In order to really adequately protect Houston and Harris County at a hundred-year floodplain level, the estimates range from $25 to $30 billion.”

Written by Shelly Brisbin.